Usually I am not sure how I come across some of the stories I read. However, this one I had never heard of before, until I saw it in a contemplation of short sifi stories I was reading. It was not in the book I was reading, but was mentioned and I felt I needed to check it out. Basically a short story I was reading mentioned this short story.
Theodore Sturgeon is probably one of the most famous sifi writers that you have never heard of, and I say that because I have never heard of him. (Sorry Mr. Sturgeon.) Sturgeon has many accolades and awards to his name. His story Baby Makes Three (which is a novella) and the expanded story More Than Human both are considered to be a few of the greatest sifi stories ever written. Sturgeon was selected into the Science fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in the year 2000. He is most well-known for the above mentioned More Than Human as well as Microcosmic God, his story Slow Sculpture won both the Nebula and the Hugo awards. Sadly Sturgeon passed away in 1985.
This story begins with the narrator speaking about a man named Kidder, who by all accounts is a self-taught genius. There is seemingly nothing the man cannot figure out nor invent on his own. He lives on a small island where he is the only inhabitant and keeps to himself. Eventually he befriends a banker who through his many inventions makes himself and the banker extremely wealthy. Kidder is a recluse wanting to be left alone at all cost. Soon he realizes that he needs brand new ideas, something new to spark his interest as he feels humanity has nothing left to offer. Since he has digested almost every idea mankind has come up with he decides to undertake a new experiment. He is able to create an entirely new lifeform that will evolve at an accelerated rate. Soon the intelligent beings see Kidder as some sort of god. With the help of the beings Kidder undertakes a challenge from the banker who has sinister and greedy intentions with his challenge. In the end there is a struggle for power that leaves more questions than answers.
I have not read many short stories of any kind but I did enjoy this one. Apparently the sifi genre is filled with many wonderful short stories such as this one. I was kind of amazed that after a little research there is this whole other subgenre world under sifi umbrella. The amount of short stories out there in the sifi universe is quite amazing, and you could literally soak up the genre just reading them. I do not think that this is the case in any other genre that I am have read, other than maybe horror but I am saying that without doing any research.
I will say that I felt the characters were somewhat predictable. The mad scientist living alone on his island and an evil banker trying to take advantage of him. These are some pretty cliché characters that have been used probably too many times. Still, I liked them especially Kidder. He seems like a character that although you have seen before, was different somehow. He was more calculated and never seemed to be out of control of a situation and was never rattled.
The most interesting thing about this story is the ending. As I said above it leaves the reader with tons of questions, at least it did with me. It made me wonder what happens next, what does the future hold for this story? I like endings like this as you get to really use your imagination as to what is going to happen. I can also see where readers may not like this because we are so use to having everything handed to us on a silver platter. I am always of the mindset that that is not real life. In life sometimes there is mystery, and despite your best efforts you do not know the outcome.
This is the first short story that I have reviewed and I don’t think it will be my last. Despite the short length I did think there was enough detail for my liking as there is always a fine line. Maybe this is why I like short stories, the writers do not have enough time to add superfluous detail that slows down the flow of the story. Which in turn means they have to spend the majority of the wordage on moving the story forward, which keeps the action coming. That is something that I think we can all jump on board with.
All in all I enjoyed this one and would recommend it. Also keep in mind that this is one of the best novellas in the sifi genre, depending on who you ask. There are some pretty neat ideas that are thrown around but again the ending is what really makes you wonder. It’s a good read and one that won’t take up a lot of time. I was able to read this one for free on the internet from a PDF file. I am not sure what the legality of doing that is, but the only other way to purchase it is to purchase an anthology of Sturgeon stories. You can find it fairly cheap on Amazon, but if you are only after this one story you may have to buy the entire book. Lastly because I don’t not have a physical copy of the book I do not have any cover art, bummer I know.